TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — This Memorial Day, six Maryland servicemembers killed in the past 14 months will be honored at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.
The summer of 2017 was a tragic one for families of Maryland servicemembers aboard the USS Fitzgerald and USS John McCain.
Darrold Martin lost his son aboard the Fitzgerald on June 17, 2017.
“A friend of mine from Detroit, they had called, no they texted and said, ‘What ship is Xavier on?'” Martin said.
His son, Petty Officer Xavier Martin of Halethorpe, was one of seven sailors killed aboard the USS Fitzgerald when it was hit by a cargo ship off the coast of Japan.
Martin spoke of the night he learned of his son’s death.
“I remember just walking around the house saying, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do. I was just walking up and down the stairs and I do remember thinking I have to stay up to at least 12 o’clock to wish myself happy Father’s Day,” Martin said.
On August 21 last year, two Marylanders were among 10 sailors killed serving aboard the USS McCain when it collided with an oil tanker.
Petty Officer Timothy Eckles of Carroll County and Petty Officer Kevin Bushell of Gaithersburg will also be among those honored on Memorial Day.
Also being honored are Staff Sgt. Mark De Alencar of Edgewood, Sgt. Eric Houck of Baltimore — who was killed in Afghanistan — and Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson — who was killed in Niger.
The service is at 10 a.m. Monday and is open to the public.
This year marks the 51st anniversary of the Memorial Day service at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.